Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels have been consistently rising in the past four years, and are now at all-time highs.
We are the 16th largest emitter of carbon dioxide worldwide, and come in 10th on a per capita basis. The Global Carbon Atlas shows Australia is dragging in the global race to cut greenhouse gas pollution, trailing behind the UK, Italy and France.
In 2018, the Green Innovation Index: International Edition, put together by Next 10, analysed and ranked the economic and energy performance of the world’s 50 largest economies, including Australia. The report ranked Australia 42nd out of 50 for per capita emissions, only marginally better than nations such as Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Kuwait. It also found that Australia’s total energy consumption is higher than France, Italy and California despite having a smaller population. And the hits just kept on coming, with Australia also ranked among the worst for energy use (43rd) per capita and electricity use (45th) per capita.
Australia is the fourth largest producer of coal, and has a crucial role to play in helping the world to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.
Globally, in 2017, more renewable energy capacity was added than coal, gas and nuclear combined. And yet, despite being one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, 85% of our electricity still comes from fossil fuels like coal and gas, which means we are missing out on the economic opportunities, investment and jobs seen in places like California, which is well on its way to hitting its 100% zero carbon electricity target by 2045.
For more information, see our Paris Primer.